Boris Johnson has officially announced the “one way road to freedom” in today’s road map plan to the House of Commons – revealing exactly how England will exit lockdown restrictions. Crediting the vaccination programme for allowing the government to create this plan, Boris Johnson confirmed a long-term plan for the next few months, which gradually reviews restrictions in a bid to lift them stage-by-stage.
Here’s the full road map:
8th March: The top four priority groups will have received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Schools will be prioritised for re-opening, with all pupils returning. Twice weekly testing will be required for secondary and college students. Childrens sports will also return, as well as breakfast and after school clubs. University students who require practical learning and exams will also be permitted to return. The rest of the population will be permitted to meet with one other person outside of their household in an outdoor setting. This can be for recreational purposes or exercise.
29th March: Easter Holidays for school will see further easing with two households being allowed to meet in parks and gardens with the “rule of six” returning. “as long as it’s outdoors, and it is two families, or the rule of six”. At this point, people will no longer legally be required to stay at home, however, the government has urged those who can work from home to continue to do so, and also limit their travel.
12th April: Non-essential retail will return. Hairdressers, salons and gyms will also be permitted to reopen. Holiday lets for one household only will be allowed, and beer gardens and outdoor dining will return. No substantial meals will be required and guests will be able to enjoy drinks at their own leisure without confusing restrictions. Zoos, theme parks and community centres will also be permitted to reopen.
17th May: Most restrictions on meeting outdoors will be lifted (up to 30 people). Two households will also be permitted to meet indoors. Pubs and restaurants will reopen to guests indoors, and cinemas and play areas will also be permitted to reopen. Hotels, hostels and BNBs will be allowed to reopen. Concert halls will return, with large events being piloted with mass testing.
21st June: All legal limits of social contact will be removed. Weddings and live events will finally be permitted, and nightclubs will reopen for the first time during the pandemic.
Progress on the next steps out of lockdown will depend on meeting four tests: the success of the vaccine rollout, evidence of vaccine efficacy, an assessment of new variants, and keeping infection rates below a level that could put unsustainable pressure on the NHS.
The changes will apply across England, rather than on a regional basis.
While the roadmap states particular target dates, the Prime Minister has insisted that restrictions will be lifted based on data, not dates, meaning these are subject to change dependent on infection rates.
Ahead of his Commons address, Mr Johnson said: “Our priority has always been getting children back into school, which we know is crucial for their education as well as their mental and physical wellbeing, and we will also be prioritising ways for people to reunite with loved ones safely.
“Our decisions will be made on the latest data at every step, and we will be cautious about this approach so that we do not undo the progress we have achieved so far and the sacrifices each and every one of you has made to keep yourself and others safe.”